Geneva’s boys basketball team has had a recent run of graduating its top scorer from previous seasons (Jeremy D’Amico, Dan Trimble, Brendan Leahy from last season), but the Vikings have always managed to find at least one player replace that production. Head coach Phil Ralston thinks that formula will be a little different this season.
“It’s never easy losing your best player going into the next year. It just isn’t,” Ralston said. “But this year may be a little different because we’re really generating a lot of depth. That’s a benefit of having a sophomore team that was 24-1 last year. We’re going to be a much different team.”
D’Amico, Trimble and Leahy were far and away the scoring leaders on the team their senior seasons, but the Vikings’ anticipated depth means they won’t have to rely on just one or two players to carry the bulk of the scoring load.
“We’re pretty deep. We’re very competitive one through 10,” Ralston said. “I think we’re going to have some guys where, if they were on the team last year or the year before they would have started, but now they’re coming off the bench.”
Forward Connor Chapman is the leading returning scorer, and swingman Mike Trimble saw plenty of action on varsity last season. Sophomore Nate Navigato’s skill set has grabbed Ralston’s attention as the season gets set to tip off.
“He’s probably our most skilled player,” Ralston said. “He’s got great footwork inside, and with his height he’s still able to knock down threes. He’s got us very excited.”
Just how deep the Vikings’ rotation is will be determined as the season unfolds, but Ralston expects every player that take the floor to be a part of an equal-opportunity offense. Defense will continue to be an emphasis, but the biggest key will be how quickly players settle into their roles and how comfortable they are in them.
“It’s going to be a situation of how well we blend together and fit together as a team, and how much buy-in we get as a team,” Ralston said.
The Vikings will head a few miles east to open the season at the West Chicago Thanksgiving tournament, and they can’t wait.
“We’re excited about playing basketball,” Ralston said. “We really can’t wait to start. We wish we were playing right now. I think this is going to be a fun team to watch. I think we’re ready to compete right away.”
At a glance
COACH Phil Ralston2011-12 RECORD 15-13 TOP PLAYERS Connor Chapman sr. F Nate Navigato so. F Mike Trimble sr. G/F
FIRST GAME 5 p.m. Monday vs. Marmion at West Chicago tournament
6.2 Average points per game for Connor Chapman last season, the highest among returning players. His 3.5 rebounds per game last year are also tops among returning players.